DNR and Thunder Bay Trails Association at odds over Deforestation Plans

ALPENA, MI – The DNR and Thunder Bay Trails Association are at odds over the potential deforestation of the Chippewa Hills Pathway Trail system.TBTALogo

A public meeting that had been scheduled for Friday, October 10th, 2014 at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Fletcher Street in Alpena has been put on hold.

The DNR will reschedule that meeting for later this fall at another date so that everyone involved will be allowed more time to collect more information about actual plans for the Chippewa Hills Pathway.

There have been several articles in the media recently along with Thunder Bay Trails Association President Randy Fairbanks appearing on the morning show of WBKB and evening news about the concerns of the group and what the DNR’s intent is at the pathway.

The group is concerned that if the DNR follows through with the plan of taking out numerous trees at the Chippewa Hills Pathway, it would destroy the look and feel of the area.

Fairbanks said they are not opposed to the timbering, but feels the cutting is being motivated by money and that the money made from timbering will not be placed back into either of the only two trail systems in the Alpena area.  The two being Norway Ridge off of Werth Road and then Chippewa Hills Pathway.

Representatives for the DNR based out of Gaylord state that clear cutting will only take place in a couple of small pockets along the Chippewa Hills Pathway Trial. The rest of the cutting will involve larger oak and aspen trees that have been marked.  Officials do not deny that the removal of the trees will definitely be noticeable.

The DNR is placing a hold on the proposed treatments until they have a chance to meet with TBTA membership and other interested persons. DNR staff would like an opportunity to outline and explain current timber harvest plans, and to hear comments regarding these proposed treatments.

A meeting will be organized in the near future, and it will include staff from Forest Resources, Parks and Recreation, and Wildlife Divisions. Staff from the DNR will be available to answer questions and discuss options and future direction. Representative Peter Pettalia may also attend the meeting if it fits into his schedule.

The DNR is asking persons interested in meeting with the DNR to contact Mr. Cody Stevens, Unit Manager, Atlanta Management Unit, Forest Resources Division. Cody will ensure that you are contacted when a meeting date and time are determined. Please feel free to contact Cody at stevensc@Michigan.gov, or 989-785-4251, ext.5240.

The Thunder Bay Trails Association and the Alpena Visitors and Convention Bureau are inviting the public to join them on Saturday, October 11th, 2014, at  10am at the Chippewa Hills Pathway Trail for an informational tour.  Tour guides will lead an informational session and walk-thru of the Pathway and share information about the DNR’s proposed cutting plan and ramifications to the pathway.

The trail is located on Kissau Road at the west end of Nicholson Hill Road in Hubbard Lake, MI.

The mission of the Thunder Bay Trails Association is to promote and protect non-motorized trail systems in Alpena County and adjoining areas and reflect their recreational significance for the enjoyment, education and adventure of area citizens.
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